Ouachita Baptist University will host Dr. Douglas Hofstadter, renowned professor at Indiana University and Pulitzer Prize winner, in a triad of lecturers on various topics Sunday, Nov. 15, at 8 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 16, at noon and 7 p.m.
One of Hofstadter’s chief Ouachita fans, Dr. Johnny Wink, Ouachita’s Betty Burton Peck Professor of English, describes Hofstadter as a man who is all at once “a physicist, a mathematician, a cognitive scientist, an essayist, a poet, a translator, a phenomenologist, a thoroughgoing student of at least a dozen languages” and probably much more.
“What so fascinates me about Hofstadter’s work is his great enthusiasm for both learning and for thinking hard about how we learn,” Wink added.
Sunday evening’s lecture, “’Glimpses of the Nearly Unknown Yet Highest Peak in the Vast Mountain Chain of Russian Literature’: A Pushkinian Evening with Douglas R. Hofstadter”, will be held in Ouachita’s McBeth Recital Hall from 8 to 10:30 p.m. with refreshments served at intermission. Hofstadter will speak about the struggles and pleasures he experiences while translating Alexander Pushkin’s Russian narrative poem “Eugene Onegin” into English.
“Hofstadter has managed to maintain the very same meter and rhyme scheme that Pushkin employed in the original and to do so in a splendidly readable English,” Wink said. “This seems to me a remarkable feat.”
Monday at noon Hofstadter will speak on “How Form Gives Pleasure” at the Faculty Colloquium held in Ouachita’s Evans Student Center Banquet Room.
That evening at 7 p.m. in Ouachita’s Verser Theatre, there will be “An Evening with Douglas Hofstadter, Presided Over by Jay Curlin, Randall Wight, and Johnny Wink” in which the three Ouachita professors will ask Hofstadter whatever comes into their minds.
“Jesus is said in the Bible to have ‘grown in wisdom.’ As one who tries—but alas, for the most part fails—to emulate Jesus to the best of his ability, I myself try to grow in wisdom,” Wink said. “I’ve been lucky enough to bump into many an author who has helped me with this project, but I can’t think of a single writer—with the possible exception of Dickens—who has helped me more than has Douglas Hofstadter.”
Hofstadter is one of only 16 honorees worldwide to have won a Pulitzer Prize for his first book “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid,” and to be a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science at Indiana University and director of its Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition.
Hofstadter earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and both a master’s and doctorate and in physics from the University of Oregon in Eugene. He has been a professor at Indiana University since 1977 and has published multiple books that have received national acclaim.
For more information, contact Dr. Johnny Wink at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5556.
By Rebecca Stone